For her first show in the UK, Benni Bosetto presented a newly commissioned durational performance that explored everyday rituals and the transformative power of magical thinking through sound and choreographed gestures.
Ambiente X took the form of a day at the office. Two workers performed abstract gestures that recalled mundane tasks: they filed paperwork, made coffee, typed information on machines. Gradually, this conventional language transformed. The lights went off – system anomaly. They began to move backwards ‘to walk against’; to talk without speaking; to sow and study their shadows in mirrored surfaces. The set recalled a near past. Simultaneously, it staged the ever-present collective timescape of work and productivity.
Ambiente X conflated different temporal layers in a progressive negotiation of linear time. It fused the measurability of work performances with magical thinking, namely that which is imaginative, ineffable, and to some extent technically inoperative. Gestures and movements were used as devices to construct a different experience of reality for therapeutic purposes, to preserve one’s autonomy in moments of uncertainty, and create new body-languages. Bosetto turned to ‘magic’, the primitive, and dance rituals to investigate the potential of recollecting ancient memories and exploring different reality-systems alongside the given one.
The performance score was played on a loop to reach a state of trance that altered the public’s perception of time. Through repetition and endurance, the body of the performers incorporated the ability to record like a mechanical device. By alternating everyday ‘rituals’ – understood as a series of social customs, practices, or conventional acts – from the dominant socio-economic order with imaginary and symbolic gestures, the performers created small interruptions. Their gestures opened up different frames through which view reality, reinforcing it, and making it known again.
Visitors were invited to enter at any time within office hours.
Ambiente X and the publication received the generous support of Q-International, La Quadriennale di Roma and patrons Diego Bergamaschi, Massimo De Palma, Oliviero Falconi, Marco Martini, and Paolo Mauri Brusa.